Written in 2008!!!
Instead of telling you what we do or see in Vegas, I want to digress a little. Did you ever just stop and watch people walking around this city? I am sure it is an adequate demographic representation of our country, We see tourists, cowboys, sourdoughs, young couples, gays, families, seniors, Hawaiians, and deadbeats.
I know of very few people who have really made tons of money from a gambling trip to Vegas. I hear even professional gamblers have problems here. I do know that if you win too much, they will take you into a room and try to find out more about you. That is S.O.P. in this town. Of course, they want to get the money back, so they invite you to come back on comps. From this point on, you are a marked man/woman.
It never ceases to amaze me how the casino and retail staff in Vegas ends up in this town. We see employees from all over the United States, Europe, Asia, and of course, Hawaii. The lure of affordable housing is a major reason. Many people in Hawaii are able to buy a house in Vegas. Owning on the Islands is next to impossible, especially for the young couples. I always try to find out how some of these transplants ended up here.
I notice also the valet parking guys at casinos and shopping venues. Same guys, a few years older. I wonder how much longer the older guys can keep being valets. These guys run into the garage to retrieve the cars, hop in and out like acrobats, and never seem to get tired.
We try to get off the Strip and downtown when we can. We have found many interesting places just west of the downtown area, on Sahara and Charleston Streets. Sahara has tons of Asian businesses and restaurants. Charleston has a mix of suburbia, and old inner-city businesses. Out on Decatur, we have found the Blueberry Hill Pancake House, with our waitress friend, Suzie. It is just down the street from both Trader Joe’s, and the Las Vegas Indoor Flea Market. It is definitely a good way to escape the gambling for a morning.
There are two In N’ Out burger places near the Strip and downtown as well. This is a good inexpensive meal, and a little respite from glitter and neon. Plus, we see all types here, from casino employees to limo drivers and hipster doofus types.
I have never purchased a car in Vegas, but I hear it is cheaper than California prices. When the airport closed down a few years ago, stranded travelers actually bought cars to drive home. Rental cars, busses and trains were sold out. I imagine that used cars from the rental agencies must be very reasonable here.
Once we get out to the suburbs, Vegas is much like any busy city. Out towards the north and west of town, the area is very upscale. Many of the nicer, smaller stores, boutiques and restaurants are here. People out in the suburbs usually stay away from the Strip and downtown areas. And the freeways have improved for the commuters over the years. Other than the monorail, I have not ridden the bus here for decades. And taxi drivers are notorious for “padding” fares to and from the airport in particular. The limo services and casino buses are much more reasonable.
While I was not a big Vegas fan when I was younger, I do really miss the big-name stars. Where did they go? Sinatra, Sammy, Elvis, Nat? We are left with Barry, Wayne, Elton, and Bob. I think I would even settle for Bob Newhart or Bill Cosby. The production shows like Mamma Mia, HSM, and Jersey Boys just don’t seem very Vegas.
The Sports Books are an interesting place to hang out. It is easy to get caught up in the action on a Saturday or Sunday. Both the pro and college games draw tons of interest and money. A two or three game parlay has a good payout. I can usually get two of the three but miss on the third. I play too many of my favorites when I really should not. But on the plus side, I get a place to sit, free drinks, as much secondhand smoke (free) as I want, and ALL of the TV’s are showing the biggest games at the same time. I never worry about worry about who has the TV clicker at this place.
There will be a plethora of cowboys, cowgirls, and wannabees here this week. It is the National Finals Rodeo whatever that is. It cracks me up when these huge guys show up in cowboy boots and ten-gallon hat. When they walk out to their car, it’s a Cooper Mini or Prius. My question is, “who is watching the ranch when they are here?” But the advantage for us is the cow folk go to the steak joints and leave the rest to us. However, just about every singer in town this week is a twanger, aka country western singer. Give me some good old-fashioned rock and roll.
Fast forward to 2021: My brother will be in Vegas at roughly the same time. He is playing in the World Series of Poker (senior division). He is driving over with a friend, staying downtown at Main Street Station, and most likely, has little time to get together with us. But I wish him luck!